What is MMS and how is it different from SMS?

MMS Messaging

We’re all familiar with SMS and MMS, but it’s not very clear what the difference is. Oftentimes, you may have noticed a SMS turns into MMS when it exceeds the number of characters that SMS allows. Are they the same, one just a longer version of the other? This article will discuss the differences and what’s best for you to consider for your marketing plan.

SMS and MMS, the primary modes of communication that use the mobile phone’s cellular network, are popular for their accessibility in the local storage of phones and rival many prominent internet-based applications like WhatsApp and Signal. However, not many are aware of the uses of the two and how they can be used efficiently for marketing.

SMS is an abbreviation for Short Message Service. It is one of the oldest modes of messaging on phones, and is the most commonly used among them. SMS is the most accessible, as with many cellular packs it is usually free or priced really low. The usage of SMS has grown exponentially over the last decade, even alongside the development of other Over-the-top platforms such as WhatsApp and WeChat. With an extremely high opening rate of 93%, SMS is the preferred mode for many businesses to initiate their communication with their existing or potential clientele. These are however very short messages, as their character limit is 160 and that also includes space. This makes it useful to send urgent short updates, but for long-form messages, one can look at MMS.

MMS Messaging

MMS stands for Multimedia Messaging Service, and is part of a mobile phone along with the SMS feature. As the name suggests, these messages can include different kinds of media such as videos, photos, audio clips, GIFs, etc. With a limit of 1600 characters in text, longer messages when originally typed as SMS automatically get converted into MMS. Not all mobile phones allow the MMS Messaging feature, although increasingly not so. However, even if it is inaccessible, the MMS text appears as a link which can then be viewed elsewhere so the message isn’t lost. Over the last few years, with growing accessibility in newer phones, MMS usage has significantly grown even though there are other popular applications like WhatsApp that people can use for sharing multimedia.

One big advantage that SMS and MMS possess is the home they share, which is the phone’s local storage. Apps like WhatsApp, Telegram and WeChat need to be installed from an App Store and hence require external installation. SMS and MMS texts can be instantly accessed on the phone unlike the others.

Listed below are the primary differences that can help you figure out what suits your business purposes best to approach your customers.

MMS can send Visual Data

If you need to send a poster or pamphlet to your customer, SMS cannot carry that message for you. MMS is the right option then, as it can carry any short media. But, MMS is also more expensive because of the extra data costs that media messaging comes with. If the customer cannot access the MMS, then they might have to open a link which makes the process harder and likely to not be followed.

Short, Cheap and Effective SMS

The standard limit for SMS is 160 characters, which forces the sender to write a straightforward and short message. This means any urgent messages, promotional details, links that can be viewed as per the receiver’s desire, can be sent through SMS. Since these are instantly accessible, it is easier for the message to get across to the customer. SMS is also much cheaper to send even in bulk, and most people have cellular packs that have incoming SMS free. Hence, it is the easiest and cheapest way to communicate.

MMS a good start for New Customers

Since MMS allows you to use rich media and graphics, it is a great choice to introduce a new customer to your business. A long message detailing your business and its products, as well as media which gives them a glimpse into your product line, can help in establishing contact with someone new. Since MMS can also be sent in bulk like SMS, you can use this mode to engage with potential customers who have no idea about your business. An SMS may be too little to help them truly see what you have to offer, and adding links can be cumbersome. MMS can do both instantly.

In conclusion, if you need to send a short and urgent update, or a notification on a sale or limited offers, SMS is the way to go since it clearly conveys the message in the shortest amount of time and is mostly guaranteed to be read by the receiver as well. MMS can be useful to send out graphic material that can express your message better and really set your business apart from others, without having to contact them through other more personal platforms like WhatsApp.

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